Zoku’s Home/Office Hybrid
The world is constantly evolving – politically, economically, socially, technologically and demographically – and the landscape of today’s public spaces must adapt and transform to support these trends. Hotels offer a service to people the world over, but how often do you actually interact with other guests within the hotel during your stay? I can guess probably almost never.
Over the last few years we have seen a change of direction in the hotel and hospitality industry, with an increase in the offering of boutique hotels, serviced apartments and extended stay hotels. Another change we’ve seen develop is the interior landscape of hotel lobbies, offering communal spaces which are a hive of activity, not only for guests but the passing public and members of the local community too. Such shared social spaces are being utilised as offices, meeting places or break-away environments, so when you walk into the hotel it’s perceived as a liveable space, full of buzz. Thanks to these trends, a new hotel concept has been born – a hybrid between the balance of a home and an office.
Zoku, which is Japanese for family, clan or tribe, is the brainchild of initial creator of the CitizenM concept Hans Meyer and Marc Jongerius. The idea behind Zoku is to create a flexible home and office that can help the global nomads of todays society to broaden their networks, social circles and horizons; but above all else they want to provide guests with that ‘homely’ feeling they miss when they’re away from their families. Zoku believes that ‘amazing things happen when people come together’ and this is something they are aiming to achieve with the new hybrid hotel concept.
The concept of Zoku was developed alongside it’s target audience, who from the beginning where asked to trial and give their opinions on what a true travelling business person may need, during their time away from family, friends and home. As a result, their service and facilities offering has been essentially tailored to business travellers and will offer everything they need, including professional services and social events.
Zoku (launching 2016) will also focus on building a community by providing social spaces and by making it a lot easier for guests to meet like-minded people to create a social life, whilst they are away on business. Guests can stay in Zoku for any amount of time from five days to three months. Rather than employing staff, Zoku has ‘Sidekicks’, who are on hand to tell you all you need to know about the local area, help you get to grips with the Zoku concept and just basically be there in case you need them – think of them as a fellow colleagues in your temporary office space.
The co-working space within Zoku is a large, open-plan room, full of lots of furniture that creates different mixed-use settings. There are corners that you can hide in to get some peace and quiet or long communal tables where you can sit alongside people and work individually. Here you can work across time zones with a desk and office tools. The space takes a biophillic approach, full of green plants and has an airy feel to it. To complement the biophillic design, there are a number of terraces, as well as a rooftop garden and greenhouse, that actually produces some of the vegetables and herbs that are served in the kitchen. You can also do a spot of gardening in there if that’s your thing. If you need some privacy for a meeting, there are private rooms available that each have their own theme and have all the technology you need, just as though you’re in an actual office.
Within the hotel, there are lots of communal areas that aren’t just for guests but for the local community too. A living room that features comfy couches and fireplaces, and a fully stocked library also occupies the space, along with a games room that is complete with a movie collection, games and a nightly house band. The living kitchen is the place to be for healthy food, with a menu that is changed daily and from time-to-time will feature local kitchen legends. The (almost) everything on-site store is stocked with all the essentials you need during your stay, the perfect pit stop if you’ve forgotten something. Zoku will offer an edited selection of Amsterdam’s finest from the store and will keep it up-to-date with the newest trends! For those with a strict exercise regime, there is a gym and also a treatment room, for guests who maybe in need of some down time.
Photographer: Ewout Huibers
Designed in partnership with award-winning architecture and interior design agency, Concrete, Zoku has been designed with style and space in mind. During a stay at Zoku, you will sleep in one of the lofts, which are adaptable spaces for both living and working. The rooms come in a range of sizes from 258 square feet to 441 square feet – you decide which space is suitable for your needs, depending on how long you will stay and how much space you actually need. The bedrooms take a different aesthetic to regular hotel rooms and feature a large, four-person table, rather than a bed as the main focus within the room. The table can be used for dining or as a desk for working or meetings and you can also rent an office package that comes with everything you need from post-it notes to a printer. Think it’s strange to hold a meeting in your bedroom? Think again. The loft is laid out so that the king-sized bed is raised and hidden behind a wooden, slatted screen – creating a cool, den-like bed area – and it can also be closed off via the stairs that lead up to it. A kitchen, bathroom, sofa and TV complete the room, which takes a very studio apartment feel. To make it more homely, the artwork that is in the room can be swapped with any of the other artworks within the hallways and you can play your own music and watch your own television programs by screening them through the entertainment system.
Fancy staying in this new hybrid hotel room? Amsterdam is Zoku’s first home and is taking bookings for the launch in May 2016. Book your stay here and let us know what you think!